King Arthur: Knight’s Tale | Review – A dark chivalrous poem

King Arthur: Knight’s Tale | Review – A dark chivalrous poem

King Arthur: Knight’s Tale is a total subversion of the Arthurian cycle. In the turn-based tactical RPG developed by NeoCoreGames there is no room for courtly love and for knightly jousting born from the hand of Chrétien de Troyes and the history of Britannia narrated by Godfrey of Monmouth takes on decidedly darker and more rotten implications, a round table populated by cursed heroes lined up against the late King Arthur – now known as the Midnight King after the bloody battle of Camlann and his return from the world of the dead.

In this grimdark adventure , on which we reported the first impressions some time ago , the player plays the role of Mordred, the main antagonist of the Arthurian legends.

Brought back to life by the Lady of the Lake, the cruel usurper thus becomes the last bastion able to save Camelot and the island of Avalon from the dark tyrant and the unknown curse that transformed the green lands into sad expanses populated by monsters, not dead and brigands of all sorts.

However, Sir Mordred is not alone in his difficult journey and along his path – read main and secondary missions – he will meet numerous more or less known faces of the legend, such as Sir Kay, Tristan or, again, Sir Balin, knights deprived of their glittering armor and often desperate transfigurations compared to the unblemished and fearless heroes depicted in the poems.

Despite the total overturning of perspective, King Arthur: Knight’s Tale still manages in its own way to be consistent with the various versions of the Arthurian cycle, the founding elements of the myth are present and reworked in a decidedly convincing way and, surprisingly, the title has a rich and well-written narrative component for being a turn-based tactician .

The characters have in fact a strong characterization, unique personalities that fit well within this gloomy world, whether it is a brave nobleman lost in a forest or a man of faith who has betrayed his values ​​to engage in black magic.

In this desperate framework, even the secondary missions are not simple fillers in search of some loot or a handful of additional experience points, but they always hide interesting pieces of history and are enhanced by a cast that has never proved trivial.

The rampant corruption, however, has made the shores of Avalon also expanses all similar to each other, a set of burnt villages, monasteries of which only ruins and woods infested with banshees and zombies remain, places that are repeated too frequently and that end adding an annoying sense of déjà vu after yet another graveyard freed from the undead.

Rebuilding a kingdom from the ground up
Let’s say that King Arthur: Knight’s Tale does not shine either for the fantasy of the explored landscapes or for the optimism, but even in the presence of a new journey inside some cursed tomb we have never felt tired, thanks to the validity of both the component strategic and tactical .

The title created by NeoCoreGames is in fact much more than a simple succession of missions, because all the expeditions within the realm are held together by a management part that closely resembles those already present in the X-COM of Firaxis, in Phoenix Point . or, again, in the first Darkest Dungeon .

 

In the heart of Avalon there is the castle of Camelot, to be rebuilt thanks to the coins and bricks recovered after the battles, resources through which to build the cathedral and the hospice – where to recover the vitality points and the most serious wounds – the market – place exchange and purchase of potions and various objects – the training camp – useful for gaining experience points even for those who are not involved in the clashes – and finally the crypt where the inevitable dead heroes will be buried.

The management of the various units follows a decidedly traditional and not too rich role-playing canon. The various knights are divided into a few classes, each with its own role to follow during the battles.

For example, Lady Dindraine is a skilled huntress equipped with a bow, useful for covering the backs of her companions but not very suitable for the head-on clash, to which the tough Sir Mordred is suited, equipped with thick armor and bastion against enemy blows, while champions like Sir Kay are perfect to keep on the front line, equipped with a two-handed broadsword with which to hit multiple opponents at the same time.

During the campaign these characters gain experience points to spend in a skill tree that is not too complex, but it is the customization of weapons and armor that leaves us quite disappointed . To tell the truth, these objects remain unchanged throughout the adventure and are only enhanced by runes to be placed on halberds, crossbows and armor, divided by rarity and suitable only for certain classes.

The variety comes above all from the abundance of heroes – thirty in total – who, although belonging to equal classes – six in total – can be specialized, for example, in attacks of fire or that cause bleeding, or equipped with runes capable of lightening the armor and that increase the number of squares on which to move, perhaps at the expense of more incisive attacks.
Beyond the walls of the castle are then reported both the main and secondary missions and some crucial events, the choices of which determine the orientation of the protagonist along two axes, relating to the old creed against the Christian faith and whether to be a just sovereign compared to a despotic tyrant.

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